by Madeline Iva
I loved this movie! It’s a satire, and send up of social media crazy. Let’s talk about the juicy acting before tearing into the bloody guts of the film.
WARNING: vague spoilers litter this entire post.
THE CAST OF INGRID GOES WEST IS FAB:
First – O’Shea Jackson Jr. – HELLO!!!!!!
He came into a scene and I just kept watching him – OMG. Cute. Damn. I kept thinking of him as a less cranked Ice Cube – (Who I kind of obsessed over when he was a kangaroo mutant in TANK GIRL, btw.)
From the moment he was on screen kept thinking: Hey! Look at him. Ingrid? Why are you not paying attention to this guy! Go for him, Ingrid. Look!
I loved that he was playing a geeky screenwriter/batman obsessive. It is my opinion that aside from movies, TV, and romances needing hot POC guys in general, that we especially need more cute/hot/black/geeky men. (Like Echo Kellum!)
O’Shea knows how to flirt with the camera, is all I’m saying. And –well, what do you know? I get home from watching the movie, check IMDB, and O’Shea is Ice Cube’s son.
No way! Yes, truly.
In a just world we’ll O’Shea Jackson Jr. rise to super-stardom.
Side note for Billy Mangusson: I saw him in Damsels in Distress. Do I like his ken-doll good looks? No. Ken dolls have never done it for me. So I don’t feel obliged to mention him here because of his hotness factor—for me he registers a zero on that scale. But his manic energy made an impression. He was good – perfect even, in his loathsome movie role. He’s a character actor in the body of a Ken Doll (which he can’t help of course–) and I first saw him in Damsels in Distress—which is a great daffy movie, btw, check it out.
Finally: Aubrey Plaza. She’s so good it hurts. She’s doing the crazy-manic thing well, of course, as the role calls for. But Plaza is also going through hip moves like a gymnast nailing the landing. She’s so on it when it comes to social tracking. It’s like she knows how to rate social currencies up and down like she’s the Tokyo stock exchange.
But that’s when her character is barely in control. When her character spins out of control, then we are watching straight up humiliation humor of the kind we’ve long been familiar with when it comes to comedic actors like Jerry Lewis (R.I.P.) and Ben Stiller, but that we see far less in women (with the genius exception of Molly Shannon’s Mary Katherine Gallagher on SNL). My sweetie had to hide his eyes during these parts of the film. “I can’t watch.” But I was rejoicing in Ingrid’s social belly flops.
Aubrey Plaza has her own unique persona going on, with a misanthropic attitude and deadpan voice. We think we’d quickly get tired of this one note, but Plaza will surprise you. She has no fear of taking her audience to other dimensions of her comedic range. She also reached into emotional points you didn’t think she’d necessarily be able to handle, giving her stiffly uninflected comedic axe. But this is what we know of Aubrey Plaza – she works it and she works it hard as an actress. She pushes higher, deeper, and lower than one would have thought she could go. I’ve noticed in movies and in TV that Plaza is always better than you think she’s going to be. She’s one to watch.
Here are two other great movies she was in—be sure to check them out: SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED and LIFE AFTER BETH. She also had a small role in DAMSELS IN DISTRESS (Hey! Maybe that’s where she met Billy…)
BUT LET’S MOVE ON TO THE MOVIES INNARDS:
STYLING: First of all, the movie, appropriately enough, it was beautifully directed, in a totally classic instagram style. You know what I mean – that understated boho thing (and by understated we do NOT mean inexpensive or second hand.) At the same time ‘the look’ invokes color drenched quirkiness, it also should invoke the clean look of big open spaces: sort of like a fresh ocean breeze off the Malibu shore as it wafts across the bodies of billionaires meditating on the beach. The movie did this very well — well done, movie!
BUT WHAT IS THE MOVIE ACTUALLY SAAAAAAAAAAAYING?
CLAIM ONE: The obvious message: If you’re mistaking social media connections for real relationships—you’re cray-cray!
And yes, we (I) need reminding that:
- there is a life beyond social media (I know, so hard for you youngins who’ve never experienced anything but.)
- You need a few real people to have relationships with in your life–at least.
- It’s okay to have thousands of great acquaintances on social media –just remember they’re acquaintances.
- Social media is a reflection of our lives—not our actual lives.
Even so, some might say that social media is a more insidious evil. I had a friend who once gave a critique of the TV show Friends by saying: The problem is that they’re all so funny, so gorgeous, and well dressed. They make me dissatisfied with my real friends. I take her point.
Do all the pretty people on social media ruin us for “real life”? Hmmmm. I want to say I don’t think so – but you have to be strong about limiting your social media intake. And this is where I feel the movie plays an important role in inviting us to examine our lives vis-a-vis social media. For instance, looking back on it, I would say that yes, my Sweetie and I do socialize in person a bit less than we used to in the years before we joined fb.
Which brings us to claim #2 that INGRID GOES WEST makes:
People who are on the other end of the selfie stick – the “influencers” on social media — look down upon their followers/worshipers and, when you meet them in person, they are shallow and inauthentic. My response to this is twofold:
One: Maybe some do — (I’m looking at you, Kim Kardashian) but I don’t. I also don’t think I’m an influencer. So.
Two: The world is chock full of people who were shallow and inauthentic and yet popular and somewhat famous L-O-N-G before social media came along. So what’s really changed?
Yet the film is at it’s best, I think, when it shows that there is more to Taylor’s life than her instagram feed presents. Her nervous monitoring of her husband’s artistic career and satisfaction comes to mind. There was something about the role that radiated a sense of instability (Good job Elizabeth Olsen!) that rang incredibly true to me.
On the other hand, as expected, Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen) stops the great moments that are happening in her life to capture the moment so it meets her ruthless instagram standards. Ingrid of course, is at that point where if it didn’t get captured on social media, it didn’t count. She takes every instance of these friend selfies as a quasi-religious moment to savor. Personally, I think most of us just wear out before we hit the Taylor point in our lives. Or at least I do — I go to weddings, or author events and I take a lot of pictures and post them on social media –but then I’m done! I’ve experienced something, I’ve put it out there, moving on now!
After seeing the movie I wanted to go out and dig into these issues of social media, our place in them, and the social ethics involved. Sweetie wanted to dismiss the movie. It made him uncomfortable in parts, and he didn’t see it the edgy double-bladed sword of truth like I did. INGRID GOES WEST offers up a chance to examine our relationship to social media–the ways in which we revel and triumph in it, and the ways in which it undercuts what keeps us stable and sane in our real lives. I say these are good conversations worth having.
So FRIEND— go see the movie already! Talk to me about your thoughts regarding the movie down below. : >
And since we’re talking about social media–I’m glad you’ve found us at Lady Smut. I’m glad that you want to take this journey we’re on as we explore the possibilities of a women-friendly, sex-positive world. We’re here to share our favorite romances with you—many of them smoking hot—and we’re glad you took some of your valuable time to park your attention here for a few minutes every day.
I never feel inauthentic when it comes to the people who support Lady Smut. I appreciate you all every day. Whether you’re on a lunch break at work or at home in bed sobbing over a shitty love life—we’re here to cheer you up, and let you know others out there are smart, intelligent women who love romance. We think the way you do.